Biometrics changing the way governments address data security, privacy

Accenture has published a new research report that finds that biometrics and advanced analytics are helping to revolutionize the way governments and public service agencies are addressing data security and privacy concerns.

Titled ‘Emerging Technologies in Public Service’, the report explores the adoption of emerging technologies across government agencies including health and social services, policing/justice, revenue, border services, administration and pensions / social security.

The report is based on Accenture’s survey of nearly 800 public service technology professionals across nine countries in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to identify emerging technologies being implemented or piloted.

These technologies include advanced analytics/ predictive modeling, the internet of things, intelligent process automation, video analytics, biometrics/ identity analytics, machine learning, and natural language processing/generation.

The report found that 73 percent of respondents cited Improved data security and privacy protection as the leading benefit of investing in emerging technologies — an opinion held across all industry sectors represented in the survey.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents from border agencies expect to see increased protection benefits by adopting emerging technologies. Meanwhile, an even greater number of respondents from social security and revenue agencies – 84 percent and 76 percent, respectively – cited increased protection benefits as their top anticipated benefit.

Revenue, pension and social security agencies believe that reducing risk and improving fraud prevention are key benefits for implementing analytics and biometric technologies, the study found.

“As public service and government agencies continue to collect and monitor increasing amounts of data, it becomes increasingly critical to take every possible step to protect not only the quality and collection of the data, but to protect all information that could identify individual citizens as well,” said Terry Hemken, who leads Accenture’s Health & Public Service Analytics Insights for Government business. “Advanced analytic technologies are essential to achieving this goal.”

Survey results also show that 71 percent of respondents said they are currently deploying advanced analytics and predictive modelling solutions.

The industry sectors citing the highest levels of adoption of data analytics solutions are revenue and social services (81 percent and 80 percent, respectively), followed by border agencies (74 percent) and public safety agencies (62 percent).

The study found that 69 percent of all respondents said they are deploying or considering deploying biometric technologies.

Additionally, 62 percent of respondents said they are aware of video analytics technology, while 28 percent said their agencies are implementing video analytics solutions.

The industry sector citing the highest adoption rate of biometric technologies is public safety, at 51 percent, followed by pension and social security agencies (48 percent) and border agencies (36 percent).

According to the study, biometric solutions are in high demand and in widespread use, with e-passports and iris recognition being implemented most frequently.

In addition, 65 percent of respondents said that they are piloting, implementing or researching the use of biometrics and identity analytics.

Respondents in all nine countries surveyed cited data privacy and data security concerns as leading challenges.

Respondents from Singapore (59 percent) and Australia (51 percent) cited these concerns as main challenges, while individuals from the United Kingdom (14 percent) and Germany (15 percent) were the least likely to say they were concerned about data privacy and security.

The report found that agencies in Australia and Singapore were the most likely to say they are implementing biometric technologies (68 percent each) while Finland had the lowest rate of adoption at 22 percent.

Respondents from the U.S. were the most likely to say that the deployment of biometrics could reduce risk and improve data security and privacy (51 percent), with respondents from Japan the least likely to have this perspective (12 percent).

For further reading: